A seven-storey block of flats could be built on the former home of a beloved Reading business.

Plans have been submitted by developer S2 Caversham to demolish the old Drews Ironmongers building on Caversham Road and build 44 flats.

Community members are attempting to stop the former store from becoming a “far too tall” block of flats.

The application will go to Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee, likely sometime in 2020.

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The developers want to demolish the closed down hardware store and flats and a 239sqm retail space.

The Bell Tower Community Association, with support from Reading Civic Society and the Reading Conservation Area Advisory Committee, has submitted an application to RBC for the property to be locally listed.

The neighbourhood association said in its December newsletter: “The developer proposes to keep the smaller office building and completely redevelop the rest of the site with a seven-storey warehouse-style block of around 44 flats, which we believe is far too tall for the area.

“If the local listing is granted, the developer will face more pressure to reflect the character of the site, even if the main building is still lost.”

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Locally listed buildings do not have statutory protection, but the interest of the building must be considered during the planning process.

Drews stopped trading on December 21, 2018, and had been running for 87 years.